Mobile apps have transformed all sorts of aspects of people's lives, and they are starting to affect the online trading market as well, with investors quickly embracing mobile trading tools. That's according to Steve Quirk, the executive vice president of TD Ameritrade's trading unit, during a presentation at the 2018 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards event being held this week.
Quirk told the audience that 40% of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation's (AMTD) customers use the mobile app daily. What's more, the executive at the Omaha, Nebraska-based online brokerage said that mobile trading resulted in a "smoothing out" of trading throughout the day. Traditionally, much of the trading takes place when the market opens and when it closes, but thanks to mobile access, investors are trading throughout the day, as the technology enables them to react more quickly to news as it breaks.
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Take Black Friday of 2017 as one example. TD Ameritrade said last year that the kickoff to the holiday shopping season saw mobile trading increase to 28% of trades from 24% of trades in the year prior. In 2015, only 21% of trades during Black Friday transpired via mobile. "Black Friday is a great example of why access to the markets via mobile is so vital for investors," said Victor Jones, director of trading for TD Ameritrade, in a press release announcing the results at the time. "We continue to see investors placing a record number of trades from their mobile devices on big holidays like this because many are on-the-go and not able to access their computer to place trades."
According to Quirk, mobile is critical to the U.S. market now more than ever. “In Asia, it's amazing. They don't even build anything on a web-based browser anymore," he said.
For some time now, TD Ameritrade has been expanding the capabilities of its mobile trading apps, recently rolling out enhanced charting tools that enable users to customize charts by creating drawings, accessing extensions, and adding company and economic events. In addition to the new mobile charting tools, TD Ameritrade announced enhancements to its thinkorswim platform, including color scheme customization, analyst report alerts and a new learning center tab. While changing the color scheme may not seem groundbreaking, traders staring at screens all day may want some variety or crave the attention that a uniquely colored screen can get them on social media.